Open Letter to the Borland C++ Developer Community

By: J.P. LeBlanc

Abstract: J.P. LeBlanc, Vice President and General Manager of the Borland C++ and Mobile Business Unit, writes an open letter to members of the Borland C++ developer community on details and migration to C++BuilderX, Borlands latest offering for C++.

C++BuilderX  Key Features

As a result of over two years of effort, Borland has delivered a completely refurbished C++ product line, C++BuilderX. In this initial release of the product, Borland reaches out to the entire C++ developer community with a product that equally accommodates the platform and application C and C++ developers.

In response to the current industry trends, and in keeping with our product vision, the new product features can be summarized as follows:

1. Multiplatform integrated development environment

To access the entire C++ market, we have built a product that will run on multiple host development platforms including UNIX, Linux and Windows workstations. To achieve this, we created a brand new C++ IDE based on the Borland Primetime IDE framework, also used as the basis for the JBuilder product line. This approach will provide the same look and feel for features across different platforms and will promote our cross-platform support to minimize migration time for cross-platform C++ projects. Customers benefit from a stable IDE platform with a well defined and proven interface for integrating the vast amount of existing third-party solutions for the Primetime IDE.

2. Multiple toolchain support  compiler agnostic

To ensure a solution for the entire C++ market, Borland will be delivering the IDE with support for multiple compilation toolchains. With C++BuilderX, the developer can change his compilation environment including the compiler, debugger, and linker to suit his particular project needs. This feature is particularly compelling for cross-platform developers, and in particular for developers migrating from one platform to another. The product will ship a number of leading compilation toolchains including Borland (bcc32 and bccx), Microsoft Visual C++ 7.1 (cl), Intel X86 and IA64 for Windows, and Linux (icc) and MingW (gcc). In addition, we will provide support for numerous others with preinstalled configurations including Metrowerks CodeWarrior and Sun Forte C++. Finally, C++BuilderX provides a simple facility to easily integrate other compilation tools chains. With this solution, you can maintain your code with the latest tools without having to migrate your code to a different compiler.

3. Integrated Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) tools

Borland will support all phases of the development lifecycle with integration of our leading requirements management tools, Caliber, source code management capabilities with StarTeam, and two-way modeling with Together Edition for C++BuilderX. In addition to supporting the Borland tools, we will provide the developer with freedom of choice in supporting other well known tools that can be easily integrated using the Primetime Open Tools API. This includes the Intel VTune Performance Analyzer which ships in C++BuilderX Enterprise and above. These features come bundled in Enterprise Studio for C++, the first C++ Studio offering from Borland that delivers on our ALM strategy.

4. New, pure C++ RAD visual design environment

In keeping with our commitment to enable developers to build sophisticated applications faster, C++BuilderX delivers support for the wx framework, a standard C++, multiplatform framework that integrates into our new visual development environment. Our new framework and visual designer will support development across enterprise and mobile platforms alike. The visual designer is implemented in Java and designed to support multiple frameworks. Both the framework and design environment will be extensible to allow developers and third parties to promote their value added components.

5. Support for leading mobile application development

To enable developers to target the latest emerging mobile platforms, C++BuilderX supports development of applications for the Symbian OS. In particular, C++BuilderX integrates the latest SDKs for Nokia Series 60 devices and other leading terminal vendors. This initial support will be extended to a wide range of mobile device platforms, including eLinux, Palm (as recently announced) and WinCE-based platforms. Mobile extensions to C++BuilderX will allow for host development and verification on local emulators, and the ability to deploy and remotely debug applications on the targeted device.

Long Term Product Line Strategy

Borland intends to continue all future C++ product offerings with the new C++BuilderX IDE. Because C++BuilderX is designed to support multiple frameworks and compilation toolchains, existing customers will be given several options for moving their current applications forward. Each of these options will provide a full RAD solution. Depending on your platform strategies, you should select one of the two following specific, long-term migration strategies for your current investments:

1. Cross-Platform/Native C++ applications. For these types of applications, developers are being strongly encouraged to migrate their current applications to the wx framework. Initially part of the preview technology in C++BuilderX, developers have been provided with a full version of the wx framework allowing them to build cross-platform applications. Although a limited amount of components have been integrated into the visual form designer, we will continue to expand the support for wx in upcoming releases.

As Borland extends this framework with enterprise features found in VCL, developers will benefit from the increasing API compatibility between both frameworks while reaping the benefits of a true cross-platform C++ framework. This particular migration strategy is also the recommended course of action for existing Kylix C++ developers using the CLX framework to deliver cross platform C++ applications.

2. Windows C++ Applications. If you are committed to building and deploying C++ applications for the Microsoft Windows platform only, Borland will recommend and encourage developers to build for the .NET framework using Managed C++. Borland is committed to supporting this path by providing a C++ compiler with Managed Extensions and integrating support for VCL for the .NET framework, which should provide an straightforward route for current C++Builder 6 developers using VCL to migrate their applications to the .NET platform with less effort.

Call To Action

As a valued C++ customer, we hope that this new product offering will align with your current C++ requirements and that we will have the pleasure of serving you as Borland C++ developers in the future. Borland is committed to giving developers freedom of choice, and enabling developers to build better software faster. The new C++BuilderX product delivers on our long-standing commitment to the C++ developer.

We recognize the importance of your investment in VCL technologies and will provide further details on native VCL support in and migration to C++BuilderX in a follow-up Open Letter within these next few weeks. Given these two long term strategies we solicit your input/comments on how we can best protect your investment in this area and we encourage your comments and recommendations on how we can continue to serve your software development needs. Do not hesitate to use QualityCentral or to email us (cpp_open_letter@borland.com) directly to provide insight on your challenges and requirements for your current and future C++ projects.


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